Thursday, 24 April 2014

President-elect, US ambassador discuss Temelín's completion

22 February 2013

Prague, Feb 21 (CTK) - Czech president-elect Milos Zeman and the U.S. ambassador to Prague, Norman Eisen, discussed the planned extension of the Temelin nuclear power plant, south Bohemia, and the need to create new job opportunities in the Czech Republic at their meeting Thursday.

Zeman is a big friend of the United States, Eisen told journalists after the hour-long meeting.

Before meeting Eisen, Zeman received Israeli ambassador Yaakov Levy who conveyed a letter of congratulations from Israeli President Simon Peres to him.

Levy said Zeman, in his capacity as Czech president, will visit Israel. For the time being, it is too early to discuss the state visit's exact date, Levy told journalists after meeting Zeman in the latter's Prague office.

Eisen said he and Zeman discussed defence and strategic relations, including mutual alliance in NATO and the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan.

Later the debate focused on trade and economic relations, he said, adding that the U.S. is the biggest investor in the Czech Republic out of the non-EU countries.

Of course, Temelin was also discussed, Eisen said.

The strategic order for the completion of the Temelin nuclear power plant is another chance of deepening Czech-U.S. partnership, Eisen said, referring to the Czech giant tender that has been underway.

The Japanese-U.S. consortium Westinghouse is one of the bidders in the tender for the construction of the third and fourth units of the Temelin plant worth up to 300 billion crowns.

The other bidder is the Czech-Russian consortium MIR.1200.

France's Areva was excluded from the tender last autumn but it is trying to have the decision reversed.

The Zeman-Levy meeting focused on the situation in the Middle East and the Iranian nuclear threat.

Of course, Zeman's visit to Israel will be on the agenda, but it would be too early to set an exact date now that he has not been sworn in as president as yet, Levy told reporters.

He said Zeman received an invitation to visit Israel in the letter of congratulations from President Peres.

The president-elect, like many Czech politicians, is a strong friend and advocate of Israeli positions, Levy said.

He have two bottles of Israeli wine to Zeman.

Zeman, former socialist prime minister who now heads the small Citizens' Rights Party (SPOZ), emerged victorious from the first Czech direct presidential election in January, supported by 54.8 percent of voters. He will be sworn in on March 8, one day after outgoing President Vaclav Klaus's mandate expires.

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